MSP Databalance Case Study: Business decisions in real time based on fast data-driven Analytics


In our modern datacenters, we prefer IBM infrastructure. For our environment we have a mixed platform from Intel, Linux, Power i and AIX.
For this we use the various IBM Power P, Power i and Intel servers. All these systems are linked using the capabilities of the IBM San Volume Controller, FlashSystem V840 and V7000. As central storage solutions we use the V3700, V7000 and V840 storage systems, because of their excellent speed, reliability and low operating costs. The San Volume Controller is used to easy tier, real time compression and mirroring. With these standard techniques present at our systems we are redundant and thus high available. To insure continuity, we are using Tivoli Storage Manager software on most platforms, fully integrated with our SVC solutions. Together with IBM we can offer all possible cloud solutions for our customers, IAAS, PAAS, SAAS. The SAP platform used by Beeztees is hosted by Databalance Services. Databalance advised Beeztees to put the database servers on IBM Flash Storage. This IBM V840 Flash Storage delivers more than 400 thousand IOP’ s. The other servers have been placed on Easy Tier Storage, resulting in an optimal mix of speed and capacity. In practice the generation of reports, lookup jobs and batches are processed much faster. Databalance is a key partner of Beeztees in the field of automation. Throughout the whole migration Databalance has been involved and has advised and supported us. The result of the last months is a very modern and “state of the art” ERP platform based on SAP software and IBM hardware, which enables Beeztees to stay a few steps ahead of the competition. IBM Spectrum is based on software-defined storage and it enables users to obtain increased business benefits from their current storage products whether from IBM or another vendor. IBM has pioneered in this field since 2003 and supports more than 265 storage systems from several brands. This give you more value from earlier storage investments. Databalance is making use of the IBM Spectrum family in serving its clients. The IBM Spectrum Virtualize is a giving maximum flexibility and reliability by virtualizing the storage. You can also get more benefits by using features like Real Time Compression and Easy Tier. And of course you can create a disaster recovery environment by implementing remote mirroring. With IBM Spectrum Protect you enable a reliable, efficient data protection and resiliency for software defined, virtual, physical and cloud environments.

Ubiquity to enable IBM Spectrum Storage in Containers (Docker & Kubernetes) by Robert Haas


As the CTO for Storage Europe in my previous update I had mentioned I had mentioned that we intended to deliver a way to integrate our Storage in container environments such as Docker Swarm and Kubernetes. Well, this is now a reality, and it is called Ubiquity, thanks to the hard work of a team involving our Research and Development labs across the world. Ubiquity is available as open source, in experimental status at this time. Let me briefly explain here where we see the adoption of containers, and what is this Ubiquity technology enabling in a bit more detail. Many surveys are showing that the adoption of containers, and more specifically Docker, is accelerating, also in the enterprise environments. You may have noticed the announcements by many large companies intending to adopt container for most of their infrastructure. This covers many use-cases, such as traditional applications, HPC, cloud, and devops, for instance. In HPC, the portability of containers ensures that a workload can go from the testing laptop of a scientist to the big supercomputer without changes, that is from quality assurance, to staging, to production, with the same code. In a cloud environment, whether on-premise or not, containers are attractive because they deliver the best resource utilization and scalability, with the smallest footprint and the highest agility. Finally, for devops, containers simplify and accelerate application deployment through the reuse of components specified as dependencies, encouraging a micro-service architecture strategy. In summary, containers are a standard way to package applications and all its dependencies; they are portable between environments without changes; they isolate unique elements to enable a standardized infrastructure; all of that in a fast and lightweight fashion. Now, with the adoption of containers increasing beyond just stateless things such as a load balancer or a web application server, there is a need to provide support for persistent storage, that is, storage that remains after containers stop, so that data sets can be shared, so that the output of analysis can be retrieved by other processes, and so on and so forth. For many adopters of container technology, the persistent storage and data management are seen as the top pain points, hence storage vendors have started to support ways to enable their products in the Docker and the Kubernetes container environments using what is called plug-ins. With the technology we call Ubiquity, because it is targeted to support all of the IBM Storage, in all of the types of container environments, we have now released this ability as well. As I said, it is available at the moment in experimental status, so we’re welcoming feedback, and you can download it as open-source from the public github. In a nutshell, Ubiquity is the universal plug-in for all of IBM Storage. With this plug-in, and the underlying framework, storage can be provisioned, and mounted directly by the containerized applications, without manual interventions. This is key to enable the agility in an end-to-end fashion. This allows you to take advantage, for instance, of our Data Ocean technology such as Spectrum Scale in container environments. This way, you can also take advantage of the unique capabilities of Scale, in terms of performance, scalability, and information lifecycle management. And you can also seamlessly integrate our block storage such as Storwize. We are convinced that containers are going to play a role as important as VMs, if not more. Containers are already the norm in the IBM Bluemix offerings, and have been adopted by our Power and Z products. With Ubiquity we’re now able to close the loop with Storage. We’re collaborating with a number of clients testing Ubiquity already now, so that we can develop this technology to match our clients’ needs. Among many other things, we intend to adapt Ubiquity to the rapid changes occurring in the container frameworks such as the CSI (for Container Storage Interface), currently worked on by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s (CNCF) storage working group. To conclude, with this you will get the best of new generation applications with the performance and enterprise support of IBM Storage.